Mastering The Art Of Online Lead Generation For Industrial Companies
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If your website is little more than an online brochure, you're missing a trick. In this article we explain why and how to fix it.

Understanding the Importance of Online Lead Generation

In today's digital age, industrial companies must adapt their marketing strategies to generate business online. The traditional approach of creating a simple brochure website is no longer effective, as it fails to attract and engage potential customers. Online lead generation is almost always essential for industrial companies to stay competitive and thrive in the digital landscape.

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By implementing effective strategies for lead generation, industrial companies can reach a wider audience, attract qualified leads, and ultimately convert them into customers. In this article, we will explore the importance of online lead generation and provide actionable tips on how industrial companies can master this art.

What Qualifies Us To Write About Industrial Marketing?

We came into being in 2003 and quickly carved out a niche working with engineering companies. This was partly because of our location - we were based in Europe's oil capital, Aberdeen - and partly because our founder was an engineer, or so he says.

Speaking the right language and understanding the fundamentals of what our clients do is still at the heart of our success. Today, we proudly work with a range of global industrial organisations, helping them to secure opportunities they would never have known about had it not been for the work we do for them.

We've helped and transformed many businesses across a number of engineering and technical disciplines and taken them on a journey, sometimes kicking and screaming, towards positioning themselves so their ideal customers find them online.

So yeah, we feel we're very well-placed to talk about industrial marketing.

Why you Should Care About marketing

Too often, people who lead engineering businesses hold marketing in low regard. They think of it as a fluffy discipline that won't benefit the organisation. This is wrong and only benefits your competitors, who have embraced inbound marketing techniques to ensure people find them when they need a solution to a business challenge.

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Online lead generation enables industrial companies to proactively attract potential customers who are actively searching for their products or services. Unlike a brochure website that passively waits for visitors, online lead generation allows companies to target specific audiences and capture their contact information. This enables companies to nurture leads, build relationships, and guide them through the sales funnel.

Additionally, online lead generation provides valuable data and insights that can be used to refine marketing strategies and improve overall business performance. By analysing the success of lead generation efforts, industrial companies can identify areas of improvement, optimise their marketing campaigns, and maximise their return on investment.

Understanding the importance of online lead generation is the first step towards unlocking its potential. By embracing this modern marketing approach, companies can generate more business online and outperform their competitors.

Implementing Effective Strategies for Lead Generation

To successfully generate leads online, industrial companies need to implement effective strategies that resonate with their target audience. Here are some key strategies to consider:

1. Define your target audience: Before implementing any lead generation strategy, it is crucial to clearly define your target audience. Understanding their needs, pain points, and preferences will help you create tailored marketing messages that resonate with them.

2. Create valuable content: Content marketing plays a vital role in lead generation. By creating valuable and relevant content, such as blog posts, whitepapers, videos, and case studies, you can attract and engage your target audience.

3. Utilise social media platforms: Social media is a powerful tool for lead generation. Identify the platforms where your target audience is most active and create a presence there. Share your content, engage with your audience, and leverage social media advertising to reach a wider audience. Also, don't dismiss a social platform just because you don't use it. If your clients use it, you should be there.

4. Implement lead capture forms: To convert website visitors into leads, it is essential to have lead capture forms on your website. These forms should be strategically placed and ask for relevant information that will help you qualify and nurture leads. Don't make these forms overly complex or onerous for users. If you only need their name and email address and a quick overview of the problem, they need some help with, ask for that and nothing else.

5. Offer valuable incentives: To encourage website visitors to provide their contact information, offer valuable incentives such as e-books, industry reports, webinars, or free consultations. These incentives should be relevant to your target audience and provide genuine value. But be careful, this stuff has been done to death and you can only gate content that's got real value.

For example, nobody is going to fill in a form and give you their details just so they can download a copy of your new sales brochure.

By implementing these strategies, industrial companies can effectively generate leads online and increase their chances of converting them into customers.

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Optimising Your Website for Lead Generation

Optimising your website is crucial for successful online lead generation. Here are some key aspects:

1. Clear and compelling call-to-action (CTA): Place clear and compelling CTAs throughout your website to prompt visitors to take action. Use action-oriented language and make the benefits of taking action clear. In essence, make it easy for people to reach out without bombarding them with annoying pop-ups.

2. Mobile optimisation: Ensure your website is fully optimised for mobile devices. With a significant portion of internet users browsing from mobile devices, it is essential to provide a seamless mobile experience. If you're unsure if your ideal customers predominantly use desktop or mobile, check your Google Analytics data, everything you need to know is in there.

3. User-friendly navigation: Make sure your website has a user-friendly navigation structure that allows visitors to easily find the information they are looking for. A cluttered or confusing website can deter potential leads. Although this sounds obvious, you'd be surprised how many businesses get this spectacularly wrong.

4. Fast loading speed: Optimise your website's loading speed to ensure a smooth and seamless user experience. Slow-loading websites can lead to high bounce rates (people leaving) and missed lead generation opportunities. We've kind of wandered into geek territory with this but it's something you should discuss with your web partners. Slow, clunky websites are bad for users, and search engines don't tend to like them either.

5. Implement tracking and analytics: Set up tracking and analytics tools to monitor the performance of your website and lead generation efforts. This will provide valuable insights that can help you optimise your strategies and improve results. The obvious ones, because they're free, are Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

By implementing these website optimisation strategies, industrial companies can create a user-friendly and conversion-focused website that maximises lead generation potential.

Utilising Social Media and Content Marketing

Social media and content marketing are also powerful tools for lead generation:

1. Identify the right social media platforms: Research and identify the social media platforms where your target audience is most active. Focus your efforts on these platforms to maximise your reach and engagement.

2. Share valuable content: Create and share valuable content on social media that resonates with your target audience. This can include blog posts, industry news, infographics, videos, and more. The key is to provide value and establish your company as a thought leader in your industry.

3. Engage with your audience: Actively engage with your audience on social media by responding to comments, answering questions, and participating in discussions. This will help build trust, establish relationships, and generate leads. Even if people are disparaging about your content (and unless you've been living in a cave, you'll know people can be really silly on social media), engage with them.

4. Leverage social media advertising: Social media advertising allows you to target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behaviours. Use these advertising features to reach a wider audience and generate leads. In a business context, LinkedIn is an obvious one and a platform that's worked well for some of our clients.

5. Implement a content marketing strategy: Develop a content marketing strategy that aligns with your target audience's needs and preferences. Create valuable and relevant content that educates, informs, and entertains your audience. This will attract and engage potential leads. If you can create the magical mix of informing and entertaining, you'll be on to a winner.

By effectively utilising social media and content marketing, industrial companies can expand their online reach, engage their target audience, and generate a steady stream of leads.

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Measuring and Analysing the Success of Your Lead Generation Efforts

Measuring and analysing the success of your lead generation efforts is crucial to optimise your strategies and improve results. You need to know what's working and, importantly, what isn't. Here are some key steps to take:

1. Set clear goals: Define specific and measurable goals for your lead generation efforts. This could include the number of leads generated, conversion rates, or revenue generated from leads. You can measure so many things it's easy to get lost, so concentrate on metrics that connect to sales or revenue.

2. Track key metrics: Implement tracking tools to monitor key metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, email open rates, and form submissions. This data will provide insights into the effectiveness of your lead generation strategies.

3. Analyse and interpret data: Regularly analyse the data collected and interpret the results. Identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement. This will help you make data-driven decisions and optimise your lead generation efforts.

4. Test and iterate: Continuously test different strategies, tactics, and messaging to identify what works best for your target audience. Use A/B testing to compare different variations and optimise your lead generation campaigns. Tools such as HubSpot are great for this and it removes the guess work.

5. Refine your strategies: Use the insights, gained from data analysis and testing, to refine your lead generation strategies. Make necessary adjustments, experiment with new ideas, and constantly strive for improvement. This is the bit most companies miss. They invest in a new site and sit and hope for results. That doesn't work.

By measuring and analysing the success of your lead generation efforts, you will identify what works and what doesn't, and optimise your strategies, and achieve better results.

Conclusion & Typical Budgets

If you're still not convinced about creating a web-based lead gen tool for your engineering or tech business, that's fine, we get it. Referrals, conferences, and exhibitions are still relevant and can work well.

Because of our work, we know that industrial companies that invest in a customer-focused online presence reap measurable rewards. We see the leads they get, day in and day out, coming through their websites, into their CRM, and on to the sales team to service. It's a proven process; it works.

Of course, doing this requires a significant investment, and this is where many organisations fail. They make a half-baked attempt at creating a lead-gen website, but it doesn't work, and they drift back into a reliance on shoe leather, hit-and-hope marketing, and praying.

So, what does a decent budget look like? Well, in simple round numbers, a decent website, which is only the starting point, is going to cost £30k to £50k, and an ongoing program of work is £3k to £5k per month. That's assuming you use an agency.

If you take the whole process in-house, and do it properly, allow for around £200k of salaries. This covers someone to head it up, a creative, a writer and possibly a tech person to manage the delivery stack. In short, taking it all in-house will allow you to do a lot more, but it will cost significantly more than using an agency.

Businesses that invest properly in online lead generation seldom, if ever, regret it. The best time to start was 6 months ago, the next best time to start is now.

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